First Minister and Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond issued a challenge to the Labour, Tory and Lib Dem parties to spell out exactly how much they want to hike the Council Tax by after their proposed freeze ends next year.

Only the SNP propose freezing Council Tax throughout the next parliament – which the other parties all oppose.

Mr Salmond said that to assess the future, we only had to look at these parties’ records. During the years of Tory, Labour and then Lab/Lib Dem administrations having responsibility, the Council Tax increased by an average of 5.4 per cent each year – which would hike the average Band D Council Tax by £200 by 2015/16.

And taking the average of the highest Council Tax increases imposed under each of these parties, Council Tax could increase by as much as £300.

Following the YouGov poll in the Scotsman on Monday showing that 57 per cent of Scots believe that the SNP have done a good job of running Scotland, compared to only 17 per cent who think the opposite, Mr Salmond focussed on the SNP’s five-year Council Tax freeze policy as a key illustration of the SNP building on our positive record in government – having frozen it during the last parliament.

Mr Salmond said:

“The Council Tax freeze is the big issue on the doorstep – it is hugely popular when every other bill is going through the roof, and puts clear tartan water between the SNP and the London parties.

“Labour, the Tories and Lib Dems are all against the SNP’s five-year Council Tax freeze – they must end their silence before polling day and spell out exactly how much they want to hike the Council Tax by.

“To measure how much they want to hammer household incomes in the future, we only have to look at their record of letting the Council Tax rip in the past. The average increase during the Tory, Labour and Lab/Lib Dem years would hike the Council Tax by £200 – their highest rises would increase Council Tax by up to £300.

“The Council Tax freeze provides vital help for families in tough times – we cannot let Labour, the Tories or Lib Dems rip it up.

“People back the SNP’s record in government – and the only way for Scots to get the Council Tax freeze in the next parliament is to grab it with both hands by voting SNP with both votes on Thursday.”

Note: The YouGov poll in the Scotsman on Monday showed strong support for the SNPs positive record in government. YouGov interviewed a sample of 1,108 adults between 26-29 April.

Has the SNP done a good or bad job of running Scotland

Very good: 17%
Fairly good: 40%

Neither good nor bad: 22%
Fairly bad: 11%
Very bad: 6%

Don’t know: 5%